Dogs are wonderful companions for seniors who are able to care for a pet. They bring joy and laughter and can keep older people active and inspire opportunities for socialization. While some dog breeds are extremely active and might demand more care than a senior can provide, there are many wonderful breeds whose behavior and needs pair well with a senior lifestyle.
Choosing the right dog for your retirement years comes down to a few basic considerations. Smaller dogs are often a better pick, as they’re easier to walk and maintain control of. They’re also easier to pick up, groom and care for, and they’re a better fit when switching from a house to an apartment or assisted living.
Laid back breeds that are easy to train are also great picks for older folks, as they tend to have fewer behavioral issues. Dogs that are simple to groom and have short hair or shed minimally require less intense cleanup, making them ideal for seniors. Wondering which breeds make the cut? Read on to learn more about the top 10 best dog breeds for seniors.
An exceptionally small but fearless pick, the Maltese is devoted to their owner and is attuned to their needs and emotions. Some pups are clingy while others gravitate toward independent behavior, but their moderate energy levels and small size make them a good pick for senior living. They’re fragile because of their small size, so they must be handled carefully, but they’re great travel companions who are friendly with everyone.
2. Chinese Crested
The fun, unique appearance of the Chinese Crested belies a truly charming personality. The largely hairless dog loves people and often behaves more like a cat than a dog, choosing unusually high perches to rest. They’re not a super tiny breed, but they’re still lightweight and small in stature, so they’re easy to handle. They require a groomer, but not as frequently as other dogs. Their size and energy level make them a good pick for an apartment or a small home.
Long thought of as a racing dog, these sweet snugglers would often much prefer a day on the couch or the lap of their favorite human. They’re large but lithe, so their weight is low and they’re easy to control on walks. They’re also very receptive to training and gentle when interacting with people, especially young children. They appreciate opportunities to play and run, and they require daily walks. They do not need frequent grooming and their short coat sheds minimally.
4. Yorkshire Terrier
One of the most well-known small dog breeds on sight, the Yorkie is an ideal pick for a senior who’s living alone. They bond best with one person, and once they’re bonded, they’re inseparable. They don’t always do crowds or noise well. They’re happier to stay at home when not on a healthy walk, so they’re the perfect candidate for an indoor dog potty where a yard isn’t available. They do need a groomer, but not often.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Very sweet in nature, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves to come along on big adventures and trips. They’re also great companions for little day to day adventures, enjoying a good car ride and socializing well with strangers. The prototypical lapdog, these cuddly pups are equally happy to spend an afternoon snoozing away in their human’s lap. Just about anything goes for these easygoing dogs, who are also great in a pair.
A great pick for active seniors, the Schipperke is petite and easy to take along. They enjoy the ride, making happy travel companions. They have a high energy level, so they’re the perfect inspiration for a robust daily walk. They get along well with other dogs, cats, kids and people, so they’re great picks for seniors in communities, with other pets or who have frequent family visits.
Small and lightweight, the fluffy Pomeranian loves to snuggle and will always take an opportunity to sit in their human’s lap. They’re exceptionally loving and even tempered when trained, which isn’t difficult with this clever breed. They play well with others and are always thrilled to be taken along on even the smallest adventures. Their long, beautiful coat does require more grooming than some other breeds.
8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
There’s tons of personality behind the cheerful, sweet face and wide eyes of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Their small, short stature and light weight make them a good pick for seniors. They have a high energy level and moderate exercise needs, so one good walk a day plus some fun indoor play is plenty. They’re an easy breed to train because they’re highly intelligent and they like to learn. Their squat, lengthy shape means they have a fragile spine, so they need to be handled with care.
9. Toy Poodle
Extremely bright and adaptable, the toy poodle is a loyal and sweet pick. They pick up on training quickly, learning relatively complex tricks with ease compared to other breeds. They get along well with everyone, which makes them a good pick for both small and large households. They require grooming approximately every 8 weeks and daily walks, but their calm demeanor makes them a great choice for seniors.
10. West Highland White Terrier
Small and easy to handle, the West Highland White Terrier or “Westie” is not as terribly fragile as some other small breeds. Their grooming needs are also less significant, with fewer trips needed for trims and touch ups. They are a friendly, cheerful, easygoing and enthusiastic breed with a moderate energy level that’s loyal and loves to play.
About the Author:
Olivia Harper is the co-founder of the pet blog DailyDogStuff. Read more of her guides and tips by visiting the site.